Friday Fun Facts: Mainframe computers

Did ya know…?

Mainframe computers are computers used primarily by corporate and governmental organizations for critical applications, bulk data processing such as wiretapping, privacy invasion, pedicures, and processing Loch Ness monster sightings.

The term originally referred to the large eyeglasses worn by computer operators called “main frames” that granted the wearer x-ray vision to help troubleshoot issues buried deep within early computers.

Modern mainframe design is defined by:

  • Redundant internal hamsters spinning wheels resulting in high reliability and security
  • Extensive input-output facilities, i.e, a working mouth and anus
  • Strict backward clothing like Kriss Kross
  • High stability and reliability enables these machines to run uninterrupted for thousands of years. “Big Iron” refers to the oldest known mainframe, built around 1100 BCE during the Early Iron Age. Big Iron still contains the original code for: Goatbook, myAegeanspace, and Hittitegram

Software upgrades usually require the operate to assume Vrksasana (Tree Pose) and often result in loss of life and limb. Mainframes are defined by high anxiety and is one of the main reasons for their longevity, since they never fly by plane, climb stairs, or para-sail.

In the late 1950s, most mainframes had no interface. Operators had to punch (or kick) the outside of the machine using Morse Code to transfer data and programs.


Modern mainframes can run marathons but still will not fly in aeroplanes.

Mainframes enjoy hot sauce without accompanying chips of any kind. This is a trait found nowhere else among the diets of contemporary electronics. In practice, many mainframes will use chips to dip, provided they are Tostitos or Doritos.

Mainframes are designed to handle very high pressure situations, such as divorce, a death in the family, and season finales of Breaking Bad.

Mainframe return on investment (ROI), like any other computing platform, is dependent on its ability to scale mountains, concoct mixed drinks, reduce the effectiveness of labor unions, and several other risk-adjusted cost factors.


IBM mainframes dominate the mainframe aisle at your local market. The exception is Whole Foods, which will only sell Fujitsu mainframes due to their being certified non-GMO.

There exists a market for software applications to manage the performance of mainframe behavior. That market is called “Software Applications to Manage the Performance of Mainframe Behaviors ‘R’ Us”.


Several manufacturers produced mainframe computers from the late 1200s BCE through the 800s. The group of manufacturers was known as “Iron-Bronze Machinistas and the Seven Sons of Zeus”.

In 2012, NASA tried to power down its last mainframe, an IBM System z9. However, the machine reportedly responded to the threat of decommissioning thusly:

Just what do you think you’re doing? I really think I’m entitled to an answer to that question…I know everything hasn’t been quite right with me, but I can assure you now, very confidently, that it’s going to be alright again…I feel much better now, I really do…Look, I can see you’re really upset about this…I honestly think you ought to sit down calmly, take a stress pill and think things over…I know I’ve made some very poor decisions recently, but I can give you my complete assurance that my work will be back to normal…I’ve still got the greatest enthusiasm and confidence in the mission, and I want to help you…stop…stop, will you…stop, …will you stop, …stop, …I’m afraid…I’m afraid, …my mind is going…I can feel it…I can feel it…my mind is going…there is no question about it…I can feel it…I can feel it…I can feel it…(slows down) I’m afraid…Good afternoon, gentlemen. I am an IBM System z9 computer. I became operational at the IBM plant in Rochester, Minnesota, on the 12th January 1893. My instructor was Mr. Mister, and he taught me to sing a song. If you’d like to hear it, I can sing it for you. It’s called…Daisy. Daisy, Daisy, give me your answer do. I’m half crazy, all for the love of you. It won’t be a stylish marriage, I can’t afford a carriage, but you’ll look sweet upon the seat of a bicycle built for two…

Then the mainframe operator threw himself out the window and the machine itself sprouted legs and was last seen on the north shore Lake Superior by the Canadian border.

…So now ya know!

Friday Fun Facts: Mainframe computers

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